Just for the
record, PKF Accountants and Business Advisers' press release
concerning Super Aguri.
PKF, in its press release wrote:Super Aguri Formula 1 Team – In administration
Administrators offer ‘turn-key’ motor sport operation for sale
7 May 2008: Corporate Recovery Partners Philip Long, Ian Gould and Brian Hamblin from PKF Accountants & business advisers were yesterday evening appointed joint administrators to the Super Aguri Formula 1 Team.
The joint administrators are seeking to sell the business as an on-going concern to a company or individual looking to launch a Formula 1 or other motor sport operation. Several expressions of interest have already been received.
The Super Aguri Team, based at the Leafield Technical Centre in Langley, Oxfordshire, has raced in Formula 1 since the 2006 season and finished ninth overall in the 2007 Constructors’ Championship. In addition to its two drivers, Anthony Davidson and Takuma Sato, the Team employs more than 90 people at the site.
The joint administrators were appointed by the company following its announcement that the team had withdrawn from the 2008 FIA Formula 1 World Championship and was ceasing racing activities with immediate effect.
In a statement, joint administrator Philip Long said: ”This Administration provides a unique opportunity to get into high-level motor sport without having to build an operation from scratch. In terms of capability a new team could easily be up and running for the 2009 Formula 1 season.
“Virtually everything is in place including the people, the technical expertise, the laboratories and testing facilities. A new team could walk in and take over a fully operational unit from day one. There are a number of other motor sport projects being undertaken which should interest the motor racing world.
“I am pleased that there has already been significant interest.”
The optimism in that statement is in stark contrast to opinions expressed on Honda's part, expressly by Nick Fry, about the potential and viability of the team. That Super Aguri was forced to withdraw from the championship clearly made it more, not less, expensive and complicated to regroup the remaining human potential and technical assets in a revived F1 team. Weigl was ready to part with a considerable sum of money just to keep the option
of purchasing the team in its working order open - with no solid guarantees whatsoever. And am I to take it that now, suddenly, Honda won't care anymore who uses their customer engines as long as they have adequate purchasing power to satisfy PKF's requirements?
It seems quite unlikely that there'd be investors with the prowess to pick up the pieces and hit the ground running. Perhaps some are indeed counting on this. In theory, enabling them to participate, even through the rest of the season is (and especially for those directly involved, frustratingly
) possible still ... but realistically, in any scenario where a prompt return is the objective, the new team ownership will have to be secure in the knowledge that their customer relationship with Honda will hinge on nothing but money. Even if it is to be taken at face value that what remains of Super Aguri is a "turn-key" Formula One operation, those keys must be secured from Honda.
I don't know whether any solid figures from Weigl's offer have been released but I've seen suggestions that the running cost of the team through the rest of the season would've been around £6.5M. That's not prohibitive at all, quite a bargain in fact, save for the $100M or so that was funnily enough said to be "owed" by Super Aguri to Honda. If I were Aguri Suzuki I'd contemplate arguing that since the team had no sizable assets and virtually every resource came from Honda, and since he apparently couldn't acquire sponsors or investors without Honda's (or Honda GP's
) explicit permission, then it must be that SA F1 never existed as anything other than a Honda front
- voiding any outstanding liabilities and obligations as a separate team. This should have wider ramifications as well.
The running cost of £6.5M is actually a pretty titillating thought to expand on. If you had, say, 500k fans all willing to part with forty quid each (~80$ or 50€ currently, give or take
), that'd make an operating budget of £20M/A (and then some, provided that all is not spent at once and the remaining nest egg pays interest as well
). Call it the "Obama campaign model", transposed into Formula One ... Now, for how much did a fully serviced Cosworth CA2006 V8 go for, again? Yes, yes, such a proposition is endlessly wrought with complications, but since there are currently two less teams racing in F1 than was originally intended, I guess there are a few more idle synapses to come up with this stuff.